sexist ad for wayfinder sucks

This half-page ad for the Wayfinder GPS system appeared in the 7 January 2011 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Whatever ad agency wrote this sexist copy should be slapped upside the head, and the client too, for having approved it. There are all kinds of wrong here.

This copy is sexist. It reinforces negative male-female stereotypes and the double standard. It sets back women’s rights in the Philippines. It is galactically stupid.

This copy makes women sound so dumb that they can’t read a map or follow instructions.  Let me tell you, my eldest daughter was born with a GPS system in her head. She never gets lost. She can take one look at a map and have it memorized. Bring her to any place just once, like a mall, and she can find her way around it the next time and direct you to any store there. She is so good, men ask her for directions.

A resounding boo to the ad agency that wrote this and the client that approved it.

I am a woman and I will not buy this brand of GPS. There’s always Garmin, which has dealers in the Philippines.

As consumers we need to be more discerning. Any company that maintains discriminatory and prejudiced attitudes like this should be avoided by people who believe that human skills, like navigation, are shared in general and are not a monopoly of one sex.

taste more:

11 Comments on sexist ad for wayfinder sucks

  1. dick masterson
    8 January 2011 at 9:41 pm (3466 days ago)

    i think these women are just over reacting….
    dear god, can’t women take a joke anymore these days?

  2. JennyO
    8 January 2011 at 9:43 pm (3466 days ago)

    It’s really not funny, Dick. Dear god, can’t men see these things are insulting?

  3. Bea
    8 January 2011 at 10:43 pm (3466 days ago)

    If we want to talk sexist…It’s always my male friends that get lost. Even when we give them directions. It gets really frustrating, noh. In fact, I usually draw on Google maps. They still get lost! They can’t read maps. Even when you highlight the maps and encircle the landmarks. May drawing na nga noh! The icons are so freakin’ obvious.

    I read a map once and I always remember where it is already. Whoever wrote that copy can’t get his facts right.

    And btw, it’s women who actually have buying power. Next are gay men. (Never underestimate the power of the gay community. They have destroyed famous brands.) Studies have already supported these.

  4. The Magus
    8 January 2011 at 11:02 pm (3466 days ago)

    Whoa, easy there, Dick. I happen to agree with JennyO. I think that a dose of honesty and fairness will do us menfolk a world of good. Gender equity, however it is expressed or not, ought to bring us to a thoughtfulness about our human condition and a sense of justice when we examine how nations have responded (to not) to this pressing need for parity. One would think that a developed nation like the US (where I live) would really get it when it comes to gender equity. Nope. Far from it. Studies show that disparities in salaries between men and women here in the US are deeply disappointing compared to those in the Nordic countries.

    This UNFPA link gives us a tiny glimpse of what it’s like for women

    Like anything, there’s good humor and bad humor. I hope that we all can exercise a little more wisdom to tell the difference. I think this ad was in egregiously poor taste. There are other ways of selling a product without having to resort to our baser instincts. “Honor before profit” is a good dictum for business to follow.


  5. bleubug
    9 January 2011 at 12:05 am (3466 days ago)

    I think this is a prime example of an aggressive ad campaign that antagonizes a group on purpose to generate buzz. I have no idea if these kinds of things are successful in improving sales due to increased awareness of the brand driven by strong reactions and the talk generated by such. Either way it seems both lazy and not very creative to me.

  6. Bea
    9 January 2011 at 1:11 pm (3466 days ago)

    Well, I noticed Dick’s blog is very anti-woman and anti-gay, although I’m not quite sure if it’s serious or not. If we’re to go with his name (is that even his real name or a pun?), the blog might be his idea of a joke. It’s actually quite creative…if it were a joke.

  7. Max's mom
    10 January 2011 at 12:29 pm (3465 days ago)

    Hi, I totally agree with you. When I read the ad in the paper a few days ago, I was so so upset that something so inaccurate, offensive to women and completely un-funny could still make it to print here in the Philippines. I’ve found out that the local dealer of Wayfinder is responsible for this — ie, he was the copywriter. I think the last laugh will be on him though as I’ve forwarded the ad to Vodafone (Wayfinder makers) and the Ironman organization and they were just as upset as you & I. They have informed me that their attorneys will be drafting a letter to this guy soon (they’ll furnish me with a copy). Local wayfinder dealer may be shocked that a woman he thought couldn’t find her way (even if she asked) could send an email to his parent company : P

  8. JennyO
    10 January 2011 at 8:41 pm (3464 days ago)

    Bea, it’s true how some gender stereotypes are deeply entrenched that they do not reflect reality at all. That is why I am against ads and other material like this, because they reinforce the negative stereotypes.

    TheMagus, thank you for your eloquent comment and for attaching the link. And I agree that gender equality relates to social justice.

    Bleubug, this type of ad is truly counter-productive. It immediately made me think of who their competitor was, so I could buy from them instead.

    Max’s Mom, fantastic move! It’s great how you went straight to Vodafone UK and Ironman to inform them about this. It is shocking that they didn’t even know. Thanks for letting me and the other blog visitors know about this. I have also emailed Vodafone and Mycom Digiserv (Ironman) to ask for their comments before I write about this topic for my newspaper column. :)

  9. bleubug
    12 January 2011 at 1:28 am (3463 days ago)

    Bea: I’d bet Dick Masterson is a nom de plume for the writer(s) of that book. It’s one of those “in your face” humor works that can be said to be making fun of men’s attitudes in a clever way or using low comedy to insult different groups. I’ve not read it so no opinion here but I appreciate a clever turn on entrenched attitudes.

2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on sexist ad for wayfinder sucks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by benjiedlp, jennyortuoste. jennyortuoste said: Sexist ad for Wayfinder GPS in Phils: This ad is moronic. As a woman I will not buy Wayfinder. There's Garmin here anyway. [...]

  2. [...] a blog post I wrote on the topic, I said, “Whatever ad agency wrote this sexist copy should be slapped upside the [...]

Leave a Reply